Study finds bathing 90 mins before bed helps with sleep

Catching good shut-eye can be problematic, so it is welcome news that US researchers may have found a way to improve sleep quality. Bathing 1-2 hours before bedtime in warm water can significantly improve chances of sleep, according to researchers at Austin, Texas, report agencies.

Biomedical engineers from the University of Texas (UT) reviewed more than 5,300 studies through systematic review protocols -a method used to search for and analyse relevant data-  to explore the effects of water-based passive body heating (bathing/showering with warm/hot water) on  specific sleep-related conditions.

Meta-analytical tools were then used to assess the consistency between relevant studies and showed that a temperature of between 104-109 degrees Fahrenheit (40-43°C)improved overall sleep quality, and when takenand hour or so before bedtime, hastens the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes.

In short, sleep and the human body’s core temperature are both regulated by a circadian clock within the brain’s hypothalamus. Body temperature, which is involved in the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle, exhibits a circadian cycle of highs and lows throughout a 24-hour day. Nighttime sleep is usually characterised by a reduction in core body temperature, and a rise in temperature acts as asort of biological alarm clock. 

The temperature cycle is essential to achieving rapid sleep onset and efficient sleep.

UT researchers have noted that the optimal time for cooling down core body temperature in order to improve sleep quality is about 90 minutes before bed. Warm baths/showers cause a marked increase in the circulation of blood from deep inside the body to the hands and feet, resulting in efficient removal of body heat and a decline in body temperature. 

The right bath timing aids the natural circadian process and ensures quicker, quality sleep.

Meanwhile, data from this research guides the work on a bed system that uses UT-patented Selective Thermal Stimulation,a technology that will hopefully maintain an individual’s optimum temperatures throughout the night.